This was our third year hosting a Blue Christmas service - a worship where we provide space for the difficult emotions of the holiday seasons. Because I think we could all use the opportunity to name the places where we are struggling and where we find hope, this week I have been posting the reflections and prayers I wrote for the service we had on Sunday December 20th. This is part 5.
Merry Christmas. May you find hope and healing as we celebrate Christ is born today.
This past week we have seen glimmers of hope as we have watched healthcare workers getting vaccinated. This hope comes alongside our weariness, alongside rising numbers of cases and deaths, as we make difficult decisions about what it will look like to celebrate Christmas this year. It is hope that is small and requires patience and trust. We are a people of hope. Hope in a baby born among the animals, small and vulnerable. Hope in what comes next. Hope in the possibility of healing, in renewal, in a God that makes all things new. We come with grief and sadness, fear and anger and we will leave still carrying those with us. But in sharing this time, in sharing those parts of ourselves that we often hide, we let hope in. And we plant seeds for healing. We await the coming of Jesus, the healer. Jesus who offered healing to those cast out, who restored not just bodies but minds and souls. We will close our service with a healing blessing. I invite you to follow along with me, placing your fingers on the location mentioned in the prayer. Let us join together in this healing blessing. Christ, our healer, Bless our heads. The center of our thoughts, our memories, our dreams. Heal the memories our past, clarify our understanding of the present, and guide our hopes for the future. We pray that our minds will be guided by your love and ask for the health of our minds and souls. Bless our eyes and ears and noses, May their senses be heightened to the world around us, Guide our understanding of all we perceive. Where these senses are diminished or not present, may we continue to be attentive and know the presence of your love. Bless our lips May all we communicate be faithful to you and your love. Heal the pain that causes thoughtless words May we spread love, compassion, and life through our words, however they are shared. We pray for your Spirit to fill us and give us breath. Bless our hands and feet May they be tools for us to serve you and others Helping and not hindering your work and your will. We pray for the health of our hands and our feet, that we might carry your love and follow your path. Bless our shoulders, representing our whole bodies Our bodies carry within them memories and scars, the weight and the joy of all we have experienced. Our bodies are how we encounter the world, how we express ourselves to the world. May we remember we are your beloved creation. Free us from the weight that tightens our shoulders pushes down on us. We pray for healing, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. for ourselves, for one another, for all who suffer. Bless us and heal us O God. Amen.
I invite you to leave your prayers for hope and healing in the comments so we can continue to pray for one another.